Red Cross Honors the Armed Forces

Kevin Shwedo, Colonel (Retired), Ramon Guitard, Sergeant (Retired) and Michael Haley, First Gentleman of South Carolina greeted each other at a Clara Barton Society military recognition event hosted at the Governor’s Mansion.

The American Red Cross, Columbia Region hosted a Clara Barton Society recognition event to honor the armed forces on Wednesday, September 28 at the Governor’s Mansion in Columbia, SC.  Long-time Red Cross supporter, Kevin Shwedo, Colonel (Retired) presented personalized military challenge coins to several veterans and military supporters for their exceptional service and long-time support of the armed forces. 

The following individuals were honored with military challenge coins: First Gentleman of South Carolina, Michael Haley, Colonel (Ret) Kevin Shwedo, Bill Dukes, General Bob Livingston, Alex Miller, Barbara Mooneyhan, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Stan Wapkinski, Senator John Courson, and Sergeant (Ret) Ramon Guitard. 

The keynote speech was given by veteran, Sergeant (Ret) Ramon Guitard.  Sergeant Guitard, a Purple Heart recipient, who was injured by a roadside bomb during his second deployment to Baghdad, Iraq.  During his 17-month hospitalization at Walter Reid Army Medical Center, he and his family received ongoing services from the Red Cross.  Today, Ramon is a Red Cross volunteer, as well as an avid cyclist/marathoner, where he has completed the NYC, Miami and L.A. marathons.  He is also a motivational speaker and lives in South Carolina with his wife Melissa and four children Shauntá 11, Aleçia 7, Ayden 3 and André 2 months old. 

The Red Cross is proud to support the men and women that serve our country everyday,” said Scott R. Salemme, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Columbia Region.  “Ramon and the other individuals that were honored at the event have shown outstanding service and excellence in the performance of duty.” 

The Red Cross supports service members and their families before, during and after deployments. It prepares families for the realities of deployment with educational courses and resources and keeps families in touch during emergencies with its global communication services.  Today, in the age of cell phones and email, the Red Cross Emergency Communication Network is vital to service members, their families and commanders in the field. Military commanders know in times of family crisis, they can rely on the Red Cross to verify and quickly relay important and confidential information to military personnel.

The Red Cross also provides comfort and support to wounded warriors, veterans and their families in military and veterans’ hospitals stateside and abroad.

Each day, we assist an average of 476 families through the Red Cross Emergency Communications Network, passing on messages about births, illnesses or death in the family. When a Red Cross message arrives, the service member knows the information is accurate and the commander can make an informed decision about whether or not to grant leave. 

Supporting Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces work is simple and we encourage you to click, call or text to make a financial donation. Visit, call 1-800-REDCROSS to make a financial donation.

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